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In the Kitchen
Memories of comfort food at Mom’s dinner table always include meat loaf

Photo: Kayleigh Baig

If you’re a mom, chances are at least some of your kids’ childhood memories will include your home-cooked meals.

My mother, who claims she doesn’t cook, can make a mean baked ziti and one of my in the kitchenfavorites as a kid were what she called porcupines: meatballs with rice inside and then smothered in gravy. What I wouldn’t do for a bowl of those. (Hint, hint, Mom.)

I guess you could say I have plenty of memory-making ahead of me, as I am expecting a little one in a few short weeks, (maybe that explains all of the blogs filled with cakes, snack foods and cheese from the past nine months!)

One of those meals that just shouts “Mom!” is meat loaf. Not necessarily my mom in particular. It’s just a mom food. It’s a meal you’d find in a typical American household cooked by that adoring mother who loves her children and wants them to have the perfect meal consisting of meat, veggies and, of course, potato.

I’ll have to admit, my dad’s all about the meat loaf. He’s been experimenting for years on getting his recipe down perfectly. I have eaten an extensive amount of meat loaf, coming in all different shapes, sizes and filled with all sorts of ingredients.

I’ve always had a secret love for meat loaf. I like mine smothered in onions and topped with ketchup. Yes, I said ketchup. What kid doesn’t like ketchup smothered on their dinner? I love the idea that the ketchup’s already been slathered on top of my meat loaf before baking.

You’ll find this recipe is for mini meat loaves, perfect for divvying out to the little ones or saving ahead for the freezer. If you’re into the whole loaf kind feel free to make one big loaf just be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Photo: Kayleigh Baig

Kayleigh’s Mini Meat Loaf
Serves 5

1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup ketchup, plus more for brushing
½ cup fine Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Ground black pepper

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, finely minced the onion and celery. Combine all of the ingredients, including the onion and celery mixture, meat, egg, ketchup, bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, Worcestershire, cheddar, salt and pepper, in a large bowl. Using a spatula or hands, mix the meat until well combined.

• Split the meat mixture into five equal parts, approximately 3 ½ ounces each. Form each section into a small loaf or ‘football’ shape and place on a pre-greased baking sheet tray. Brush each loaf with ketchup. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the center of each loaf reaches 160 degrees. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Editor’s note:  This will be Kayleigh’s last blog for 2016. Kayleigh and her husband Tahir are expecting their first child in a few weeks and she’s taking a short break from blogging.

In her absence, we’ll be running some of our favorite past “In the Kitchen” blogs with some guest blogs sprinkled in here and there. If you’ve got a recipe you’d like to share, please submit it to the editor. Be sure to include your name and contact number. 



baig kayleigh

Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig was born and raised in Riverhead, where she lives with her husband Tahir and their two dogs.

Kayleigh is in her third season as Sous Chef at a private kitchen in Southampton. Not only is she second in command but her main focus is on creating, preparing and executing cold dishes such as salads, hors d’œuvres, appetizers, canapés, pâtés and terrines. Kayleigh has been in the culinary industry for the last 15 years, working her way up in kitchens on the East End. She also is a personal chef.

Look for In the Kitchen with Kayleigh every Saturday on RiverheadLOCAL.com.

Got questions? Recipes? Ideas? [contact-form-7 id=”27493″ title=”Write to Kayleigh”]

Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig

Kayleigh is a sous chef at the Meadow Club in Southampton. A Riverhead native, she is married and the mother of a daughter born in December 2016. Email Kayleigh